As announced on Wednesday, Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña has been named the National League Player of the Month for April 2023, edging out Miami Marlins second baseman Luis Arraez.
Arraez, who was traded from the Minnesota Twins to Miami in exchange for starting pitcher Pablo López and prospect hitter José Salas in January, had perhaps the best start to a season in Marlins history.
Through 25 games in March and April, the 26-year-old posted a 1.051 OPS with a .438 batting average, the latter of which is the highest mark for a Marlin in the first month of the season, surpassing Dee Strange-Gordon who hit .409 through April in 2015. Arraez’s .438 average at the end of April is the highest among qualified hitters since Barry Bonds hit .472 in 2004.
Arraez also has 12 multi-hit games, which are second-most in MLB behind only Acuña, Jr. and Bryson Stott, who both have 13. One of those games will be etched in Marlins lore forever. On April 11 against the Philadelphia Phillies, Arraez hit for the cycle—the first in franchise history.
Arraez has a league-low strikeout rate of 4.8%. He also has a career-high walk rate of 10.5%. The Venezuelan has done much of this while battling a lacerated finger and left knee contusion.
This all came in the midst of a 16-13 start for Miami. Fifteen of those games were won in April (second-most wins in April in franchise history). It is the Marlins’ best record in April since going 16-9 in 2011.
The 16th win—a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday—again had Arraez’s fingerprints all over it. Tied at three with runners on the corners in the bottom of the eighth inning, Arraez flied out to the warning track in center field to drive home the go-ahead run from third base.
Ultimately, Arraez’s nagging injuries may have been the tiebreaker. Acuña played in four more games than him and accrued 25 more plate appearances. It’s worth adding that Acuña altered games as a baserunner, leading the league with 13 stolen bases. Both the FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference versions of wins above replacement preferred Acuña, too.
No Marlin has won National League Player of the Month since Giancarlo Stanton in August 2017. Since then, every other NL team except for the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants has had one of their players receive the award.